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Romantic Spots in GRC Feature Image

The Great River Road, which travels along the Mississippi River, has countless opportunities for couples to experience romantic moments. Bluff-top views, river sights, charming B&Bs and sprawling vineyards sprinkle the Illinois portion of the road on the western boarder of the state. We rounded up six spots along the Great River Road in Illinois that are the epitome of romance. Have other ideas that we didn’t include? Comment and share with us!

Take a wintery stroll through Galena’s historic Main Street. Click the photo for more information about bustling downtown Galena. (Photo by Instagramer (at) foundflavor)

Take a wintery stroll through Galena’s historic Main Street and enjoy the bustling nature of downtown Galena. (Photo by Instagramer (at) foundflavor)

Galena’s Main Street
There’s something nostalgic about the small town charm in winter. Visit Galena’s historic Main Street to shop the local boutiques, take a historic trolley tour of the snow-dusted town, and cozy up on a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the town. Walk across the river to visit Grant Park, a great location for couples to take in the breathtaking views of the historic town. The park is home to a charming gazebo has been the site of many nuptials throughout the years!

Instagramer (at) squezdog captured this amazing shot of Bayview Bridge at sunset. Click the photo for more attractions to enjoy at Bicentennial Park.

Instagramer (at) squezdog captured this amazing shot of Bayview Bridge at sunset.

Bicentennial Park and Bayview Bridge
Bicentennial Park in Quincy is the place to see Bayview Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge over the Mississippi River. Snap photos with the bridge as the backdrop or relax on a park bench and look out at the moving waters.

Beall Mansion
Located just 12 blocks from the Mississippi River, the elegant bed and breakfast Beall Mansion features an in-room massage, spa treatments and a 24 hour chocolate buffet! This quaint B&B mansion is the perfect romantic getaway for two.

Share a warm slice of pie at this cozy sweet shop. Click the photo to see more activities in Alton. (Photo by Instagramer (at) kayris06)

Share a warm slice of pie at this cozy sweet shop. (Photo by Instagramer (at) kayris06)

My Just Desserts
My Just Desserts in Alton is a tasty place for couples to stop along the Great River Road. This cozy confectionery and restaurant is located in the historic Alton in a building that dates back to 1845. With up to 13 types of pie to choose from, you won’t want to miss out on this indulgence.

Piasa Winery
The charming Piasa Winery overlooks the Mississippi River and is home to delicious varietals from the Piasa vineyards. Its deck is a great spot to sip a sweet white or sparkling wine with your loved one while enjoying the region’s rolling landscape as the backdrop.

Luxury is not hard to come by at Irish Hallow as seen in the inn’s spa-like bathrooms. See more pictures of the accommodations by clicking the photo. (Photo by (at) aniababicz)

Enjoy the warm, relaxing atmosphere of The Inn at Irish Hollow. (Photo by (at) aniababicz)

The Inn at Irish Hollow
Sitting on 500 acres in the Galena countryside, The Inn at Irish Hollow is a truly magical destination for couples. Irish Hollow has five English countryside cottages perfect for two, complete with wood burning fireplaces, spa-quality bathrooms and plush furnishings.

For more information on romantic destinations in Illinois, visit

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Feature Image for Morning Blog

How do you spend your mornings in Illinois? This week we challenged our Instagram followers to share photo’s that described their morning in the Prairie State. Check out some of our favorite pictures below and be sure to follow us on Instagram for more weekly challenges! Your photos could be featured next week. Share your best photos with us and make sure you tag #EnjoyIllinois.

For more unique Illinois destinations, events, and attractions check out

will_ryan sunrise  photo

How beautiful is this sunrise captured by @will_ryan taken at the Midwein National Tallgrass Prairie?

ieatallthechips breakfast skillet at CRIO

Doesn’t this picture make you want to dig right in? Thanks @ieatallthechips for sharing your morning at CRIO with us!

constant_creations dawn

Instagramer @constant_creations captured this photo of Blackwell Forest Preserve at dawn!

its_katie_k coffee and cake for breakfast

What a colorful and delicious way to spend the morning! Photo: @its_katie_k taken at West Town Bakery & Diner

julesnus88 farm sunrise

A beautiful, scenic winter morning in Illinois! Photo: @julesnus88

reisefreunde breakfast at Lou

Instagramer @reisefreunde spent her morning indulging at Lou Mittchell’s!

-The Illinois Office of Tourism


Sweet Spots Feature Image

The holidays are a time of indulging in decadent desserts, and there’s no shortage of places to pick up your favorite sweet treats in central Illinois. We’ve listed seven of the top confectionaries around the region. What are some of your favorite places in Illinois to get your sugar fix? Share with us and comment below!

Doc’s Soda Fountain

Originally a pharmacy built in the1880s, this old fashioned soda fountain in Girard is one of many stops along historic Route 66 where you can get a taste of the Mother Road. Stop in for lunch and warm up with a slice of fresh-from-the-oven pie!


Get a taste of the Mother Road at this old fashion soda fountain

The Chocolatier, Inc.

The name says it all for this Bloomington favorite. This local confectionary serves homemade chocolates, candies and treats, including specialties like chocolate covered Oreos, Rice Krispie balls and the nut butter cookies. Put together an assortment as a gift to for family and friends, or pick out a selection to savor yourself!

The Homestead Bakery

At The Homestead Bakery in Arthur, you can purchase a number of made-from-scratch Amish baked goods, like caramel iced cinnamon rolls, honey yeast breads and angel food cakes. Decorated cut-out cookies, savory dinner rolls and cinnamon swirl bread are just a few of the top items on the menu during the holiday and winter season.

HomesteadBakeryInside, Arthur

Taste one of the traditional Amish baked goods at The Homestead Bakery

Pekara Bakery & Bistro

Pekara Bakery & Bistro is a favorite to the Champaign community, specializing in traditional European breads and treats with no preservatives or artificial additives. Named “Best Bakery in CU” each year since 2008, this local gem is sure to please. Offering a full restaurant menu, stop in to Pekara for lunch and a decadent dessert to follow.

Flesor’s Candy Kitchen

Milk shakes, malts, sundaes, splits – you name it, and Flesor’s has it! There’s no end to the decadent treats available at the Candy Kitchen in Tuscola. Pick out an assortment of hand-dipped chocolates, candies, cookies and other mouth-watering morsels. For a little extra zing, don’t forget to try the infamous Buzz Bark, chocolate coffee bark.


Sample an old fashioned, homemade cookie at Flesor’s Candy Kitchen

Jubelt’s Bakery

Family owned and operated Jubelt’s Bakery has been serving its traditional European baked goods to the Litchfield area since 1922. While planning your next holiday gathering, stop in to Jubelt’s to order classic holiday desserts for Thanksgiving, Christmas and more.

Pease’s Fine Candies & Salted Nuts

Pease’s is in its fifth generation of the candy making business, selling candies and treats for more than 80 years in Springfield. Choose from a variety of caramels, nuts, toffees and popcorns to satisfy your sweet tooth!

For more tasty Illinois trip ideas, visit

-The Illinois Office of Tourism

Expedia Feature Image

Expedia Viewfinder and Enjoy Illinois partnered up to highlight the best outdoor things to do in the Prairie State this winter.

With the fresh snowfall of each new winter season, Illinois becomes the epitome of a winter wonderland. At Expedia Viewfinder, we wanted to learn more about what makes the Land of Lincoln so appealing during wintertime, so we turned to our friends at Enjoy Illinois. From ice skating to snowshoeing, we discovered some of the best reasons to travel to Illinois this winter:


Ice skating at McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park

Ice Skating

Channel Michelle Kwan and practice those figure 8s at the ice rink this winter. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Chicago’s famed Millennium Park is a favorite spot for visitors and locals to carve up the ice, introduce their little ones to skating, or relive their ice hockey days. This family-friendly attraction offers free ice skating lessons before the rink opens on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, so everyone has the opportunity to be an Olympic-worthy skater for the day. Nearby, the brand new Maggie Daley Park offers a quarter-mile long circular ice skating ribbon, for a unique twist on the traditional ice rink. After a day of fun on the ice, grab a hot chocolate and explore the rest of Millennium Park and Chicago’s historic Michigan Avenue.

Starved Rock Ice Climb

Frozen waterfalls at Starved Rock State Park

Snowshoeing and Cross-country Skiing

Break a sweat while getting in touch with Mother Nature by snowshoeing or cross-country skiing at the beautiful Starved Rock State Park. Located just 90 miles from Chicago, Starved Rock offers hiking and skiing trails that meander through towering trees and scenic overlooks along the Illinois River. In addition, Starved Rock’s seasonal waterfalls often completely freeze over during the winter months, providing a special awe-inspiring natural treat for visitors. For an extended stay at Starved Rock State Park, visitors can stay at the Starved Rock Lodge or one of the cozy cabins.

Flick Park Sledding

Sledding at Flick Park in Glenview (Photo credit: Glenview Park District)


Who says sledding is just for kids? Grab a saucer, with or without the kiddos, and shoot down the slippery slopes at the many Forest Preserves of Cook County locations, like Caldwell Woods. These hills serve up plenty of thrills for kids and adults alike. Flick Park in Glenview is another popular spot, where sledders can fly down the 200-foot hill into the open fields. Shooting down these slopes with snow flying all around is certain to bring joy, while making lasting memories.


Skiing and snowboarding at Chestnut Mountain Resort in Galena

Skiing and Snowboarding

For those looking for something a little more challenging than sledding hills, hit the slopes at Chestnut Mountain Resort in Galena. This ski and snowboard destination boasts 19 runs with 475-foot vertical drops. Farside, its terrain park, also includes 25 rails for boarders and skiers looking to pull some tricks and stunts. Meanwhile, snowboarders who don’t want to share their turf can head to Raging Buffalo Snowboard Ski Park, located near Chicago in Algonquin, the world’s first snowboard exclusive area. The Raging Buffalo presents half pipes, tabletops, kickers, and more to challenge every level.


Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo

Zoo Lights

Enjoying winter in Illinois doesn’t have to include high-thrill activities. Mosey over to the Lincoln Park Zoo in the evening and see a different side to this day-time attraction. Each winter, the zoo is illuminated with lights and musical displays, as visitors can marvel at the holiday decorations and check out the exotic animals. This year, the Lincoln Park Zoo Lights also offer live ice carvers, a Lion Train Adventure, arts and crafts and more.

Don’t let a little cold weather keep you inside this winter. Take a trip to Illinois to enjoy these adventures for yourself. To plan your trip, be sure to visit

Expedia Staff Writer

Cloud Feature Image

The Prairie State is filled with miles of beautiful landscape, so this week we challenged our Instagram followers to share their amazing cloud photos. Check out some of our favorite pictures below and be sure to follow us on Instagram for more weekly challenges! Your photos could be featured next week. Share your best photos with us and make sure you tag #EnjoyIllinois.

For more unique Illinois destinations, events, and attractions check out


Instagramer @smvggg captured this shot on a gorgeous day!


How many cornfields do you think reside in Illinois? Photo: @emccotton


Instagramer @fotobugger captures a cool, contrasting sky!


Nothing but blue, beautiful skies in Illinois! Photo: @jwkphoto


A light dusting of clouds during sunset in Illinois Photo: @jojogard


How pretty are these clouds captured by @nick_ulivieri?


Colorful capture by Instagramer @pengwin60


Fiery cloud coverage consumes the Illinois sky! Photo: @swaytek

-The Illinois Office of Tourism